Okay, I am so, so behind on trips we've taken. But let's go way, way back to October, when we spend eight glorious days in Burma, or Myanmar. (Need some background on the name? Here you go.)
Burma is not gussied up, especially not Yangon. In fact, it reminded me in some ways of Dhaka, that is, a cleaner, romanticized version of Dhaka, but with just as many men in lungis. The point is, while Burma is a Southeast Asian nation, you can really feel the South Asian influence pretty strongly. But I felt just as relaxed and pleasant as I always do in SE Asia, without the hustle and bustle of South Asia.
Bagan was amazing, with this incredible volume of temples, beautiful light everywhere, everything an ancient relic. And we visited the less-touristed Mandalay, where the city itself is not really the attraction so much as the surrounding areas--the concentration of temples and leafy greenness on Sagaing Hill, and the feeling of traipsing through a civilization lost to history at Inwa, once the ancient capital of Ava.
I love this pic of James SO EXCITED for breakfast noodles in Yangon:
Of course, the gorgeous Shwedagon Paya, a major reason Yangon is a can't-miss:
Riding a horse-cart through the ruins of an ancient capital:
A random, not-at-all famous temple encountered on the road between Mandalay and Bagan:
Enjoying the views during sunset in Bagan:
And me and my new BFF, an old lady in a village we passed through on the way to that temple. She called me into her house, and seeing how pale I am, decided I needed to be protected from the sun with sandalwood paste (we had no common language so I couldn't explain SPF to her):